The Orthodox Union’s Women’s Initiative is partnering with more than 40 synagogues in 16 U.S. states and one Canadian province to provide shiurim for women on Simchat Torah morning during aliyot.

“The opportunity to celebrate the Torah through study is a fulfillment of the essence of Simchat Torah,” said founding director of the OU Women’s Initiative, Rebbetzin Dr. Adina Shmidman. “Connecting synagogues with local scholars creates a Simchat Torah morning learning opportunity so that all feel involved and engaged.”

  • Locally, Mrs. Yael Saffra will speak on “The Sound Of Prayer: A teaching in honor of Chana” on Tuesday, October 22 at 11 a.m. at Congregation Beth Sholom in Lawrence.
  • Rebbetzin and Yoetzet Halacha Lisa Septimus will speak on “The Different Aspects of Kibbud Av Va’Eim” Tuesday, October 22 at 11 a.m. at Young Israel of North Woodmere.
  • Mrs. Aviva Orlian will speak at Congregation Shaaray Tefila in Lawrence on “Simchas Torah and the Cycle of Torah: When the End is Just the Beginning”

“We are thrilled to be partnering in the Five Towns once again. We hope women will come and participate in different shuls,” said Rebbetzin Shmidman.

Presentations at other synagogues include:

  • Hidden in Plain Sight: Uncovering the Inner Message of Shabbat by Dr. Yael Muskat at Young Israel of Oceanside
  • Discipline: Does It Limit or Liberate? by Dr. Malka Ismach at Young Israel of Great Neck
  • Can Women Serve as Witnesses? A discussion of Rabbanit Dr. Michal Tikochinsky’s view of women’s identity by Dr. Deena Rabinovich at Congregation Etz Chaim of Kew Gardens Hills
  • Simchat Torah Tisch (for women to sing together), open discussion about the Chumash, led by Mrs. Racheli Taubes at Mount Sinai Jewish Center in New York City
  • Open Topic by Mrs. Mindy Schwartz Zolty at Congregation Ohab Zedek in New York City and by Rebbetzin Rochelle Hirtz at Young Israel of Holliswood
  • Why Simchat Torah is Really about Women by Rabbi Mattisyahu Monheit at Young Israel of Avenue J

“The program was piloted last year and received very positive feedback. This year our member synagogues were very interested in an expansion of this program as it addresses an important communal need in a very effective manner,” said Orthodox Union President Moishe Bane.

“The OU takes tremendous pride in providing programming for each and every member of our community,” said Orthodox Union Executive Vice President Allen Fagin. “Enhancing the joy and meaningful opportunity for Torah learning, that women in these 40 communities will derive from their celebration of Simchat Torah is a perfect example.”


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